Guest Post by: Helen Burnes
It is never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, easy to quit an addictions and get your life back on track. But as countless others have shown, if you have enough determination then you will succeed. Beating an addiction is about more than just reclaiming some of the time and money you spend on drugs and alcohol; it’s about getting back to the real you, the very best version of yourself. While this is a tough road to walk down, it’s one that can be made easier by following a few simple steps, outlined below. These subtle changes to your life can have a profound effect, especially when they are added in conjunction with structured drug rehabilitation support.
Talking with People
Johann Hari says that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connection. Even if they’re surrounded by dozens of people, people they consider to be friends, family, and so forth, addicts can feel lonely and depressed. Sometimes this is because they feel they are unable to open up to anybody, other times because they are too far gone into their addiction and are unable to make the necessary connections without a real effort.
It’s hugely important to make these connections if an addict is going to develop the support network that is so important to overcoming addiction. It’s unlikely that lowering their guard will come naturally to an addict, who may feel the shame and guilt that so often strikes addicts. There are resources out there, however, that allow people to make connections, and in any case they will find that people in their life are more willing to be a source of support that they may have imagined.
Cooking Meals/Eating Well
An addict’s lifestyle often works against their best interests, creating a negative cycle it is difficult to escape from. If a person is using and feeling depressed, it’s unlikely that they’ll take the time to cook themselves a proper meal and feed themselves well. But the simple art of cooking can play an important role in helping a recovering addict gain a sense of control. Learning about foods and how to cook enables a person to take care of themselves, and also gives them a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. There are many simple, nutritional recipes that take no time at all to cook, but which are much better for you than fast or frozen food.
Taking Care of Yourself
Preparing healthy meals is the first step towards independently taking care of oneself. They can also make sure they complete the other daily tasks that enable them to become independent, such as making sure their clothes are clean, brushing their teeth, and ensuring their homes are tidy. Individually these are all small tasks, but combine them all together and you have the semblance of a well functioning, responsible adult, which is important when it comes to gaining the self confidence needed to change the course of one’s life. Addiction strips us of our identities and can consume our every action; by making sure the other parts of our lives are in order, the jump towards a sober life isn’t quite as high as it would be if recovery meant changing every facet of your being. With these things taken care of, you’re already on your way there.
Getting into Nature
The importance of nature can not be understated. Many of us routinely cut ourselves off from it, not knowing that its effects can be hugely beneficial. For instance, those with alcohol or drug problems will find that nature can sometimes offer them a lot more than cities do. Join a hiking club or the like and you’ll find friends, get healthy, and be spending time in the great outdoors all at the same time. Studies have shown that spending as little as 15 minutes in nature can have the same effect as an antidepressant.
On a broader note, nature helps us slow down, connect to something bigger than ourselves, and gain a sense of perspective that other places can just not match. Whatever form it takes, be it a simple morning stroll through the weeks or a multi day camping trip, being among the natural world holds a key towards happiness that is well worth looking into as part of recovery.